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Homan wins record-extending 14th Grand Slam women’s title at WFG Masters

SASKATOON — Rachel Homan captured a record-extending 14th Grand Slam of Curling women’s championship in the WFG Masters.

Homan and her Ottawa-based club claimed the trophy with an 8-4 victory over Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni during Sunday’s final at Merlis Belsher Place.

The team of Homan, third Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes collected $38,000.

Both Homan and Wilkes gave birth during the off-season and the team has been on an incredible run this fall winning four titles on tour already. Homan herself was on fire this week — leading all women’s skips with a 90 per cent shooting average — and fired a team-high 88 per cent in the championship game.

“It just feels so good,” Homan said. “We’ve put in so much work and trying to get back really quick after both babies on the team. It feels phenomenal to capture that after you’ve worked so hard to come back after having two kids on the team. It’s a lot of work and I’m really proud of my team.”

Miskew has been playing beside Homan since they were kids and said it’s amazing to share the journey.

“We just come into all of these events trying to win as many games as we can,” Miskew said. “There are so many amazing teams here and it’s been a great event. Rachel’s bounce back this season, just having a two-month-old, is unbelievable and amazing. I’m really grateful that I’ve been along on the ride for so many years with her. Fourteen Slams is pretty impressive.”

Tirinzoni secured the hammer to start, but Homan was able to wrestle control of the game early.

Homan made an amazing shot in the second end that breezed dangerously close by a guard and connected to sit three counters.

“We’ve been working really hard on our sweeping,” said Miskew, who moved from third to second last season when Fleury joined the team. “I just love having switched to being a sweeper. I love being part of that. She throws them so that we can sweep them. That’s the way that we have to do. I was happy that I was able to get it by the guard for her and she threw it great enough to make it.”

“After that shot I said, ‘Nice shot, Em.’ It was her shot that she made, not mine,” Homan added. “Phenomenal sweeping and it was just a phenomenal week for us. We were strong straight through and right up the lineup.”

That forced Team Tirinzoni to just a single and a miss from Pätz in the third end opened the door for Homan to score four points and take a firm 4-1 lead.

The teams traded singles in four and five.

Pätz pulled off an open hit for two in the sixth to close within one, however, it was early handshakes after Homan hit a double takeout to count three in the seventh.

“Unbelievable,” Homan said. “What a team effort to win that one and phenomenal shot-making across the board. Tirinzoni was putting rocks in great spots and coming back in the game after that four, it was tight, and then able to make that last one as a team shot is a great way to go out in 2023.”

With the way they’re playing, it’s no surprise they’re just as eager to get back on the ice for the next Grand Slam event — the Co-op Canadian Open, Jan. 16-21, in Red Deer, Alta. — as they are to rest and relax for the holidays.

“It’s a nice time to take a little break but we’ll be working hard and we’re excited to get back on the ice in January and get to Red Deer,” Miskew said. “Keep playing, keep building, keep learning and getting games together.”

Tirinzoni, Pätz, second Selina Witschonke and lead Carole Howald earned $30,000.